If Or When Will X12 Actually Materialize?

Written by Michael Larabel in X.Org on 1 June 2010 at 11:31 AM EDT. 103 Comments
The first version of the X protocol for the X Window System emerged in 1984 and just three years later we were at version 11. However, for the past 23 years, we have been stuck with X11 with no signs of the twelfth revision being in sight, even though there is a whole list of X12 plans and hopes on the FreeDesktop.org Wiki. Julien Danjou, an XCB developer, has written a lengthy blog post looking at the situation and the prospects for the X protocol.

Julien's post briefly recaps the history of the X protocol and then more closely looks at the current X11 protocol. While X11 has been living for more than two decades, numerous extensions have been introduced since then (i.e. X Render) while parts of the X11 protocol have been lost (i.e. Zaphod mode) and other features like server-side fonts are no longer used. Over the course of time, various tool-kits and higher-level software has had to work around the shortcomings of X11, which adds another level of mess and complexity to the situation, which Julien also covers in his blog. Also covered is the lack of interest by GTK+ and Qt developers in targeting the XCB API where as Cairo being one of the few libraries that targets the X C Bindings and then Enlightenment's EFL only has an unmaintained port.

X12 could clean-up some of this mess, but this FreeDesktop.org developer thinks, "To me, it does not seem X12 will happen in the next decade neither." It's also possible that X12 could also never come, if the Wayland Display Server proves to be a success or some alternative solution emerges.

Julien's post that shares his thoughts and ramblings on the X protocol can be found on this page. You can share your thoughts on X11 or hopes for X's future in our forums.
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